Eureka Alert

IMAGE: These are participants in May 2017 BioMed21 workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. view more 

Credit: Heloisa Machado

Rio de Janeiro (June 10, 2018) –Since ancient times we have been interested in knowing about our anatomy, physiology and how our bodies respond to different stimulus. Basic understanding of what we are made of and how our bodies work has traditionally relied heavily on investigations using animals as proxies for our own biology. This paradigm started in ancient Greece and has been perpetuated until modern times.

Transgenic, knock-out and so-called “humanized” versions of mice and other animals have progressively been used as models for studying human diseases. However, a growing body of studies and reviews published in the last years have shown that animal models provide fewer new insights into human biology and have been of little use for developing new drugs or interventions than is often assumed. Indeed, 95% of compounds tested in animals fail when tested in humans, due to inefficacy or worse, toxic effects in humans. This reality has called attention to the fact that the animal-based paradigm of biomedical research has failed to deliver the promises made in the last 50 years.

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